The UAE Pontiff carpet, which was minted as an NFT, sold in January 2022 for 25 Ether almost equal to $81,886 and offered as charity for Afghanistan.
Woven by Afghan women, the Pontiff carpet was originally gifted by His Highness Sheikh Mohamad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to Pope Francis in September 2016 during a visit to the Vatican.
The 272cm x 183cm physical version of the carpet remains with Pope Francis But Zuleya – Fatima Bint Mohammed Bin Zayed Initiative’s (FMBI) retail arm – created a 187 cm x 125cm replica to be gifted to whoever buys it as an NFT.
“This is perhaps the most iconic NFT to be sold in the Middle East,” said Musfir Khawaja, co-founder of nftOne, the DIFC-headquartered regional marketplace where the NFT was listed. “The buyer will get the physical replica of the carpet besides an ornate gold frame on a 165cm digital canvas with the NFT loaded on it.”
Proceeds from the sale will go to aid vulnerable families in Afghanistan. The NFT is one of six pieces that were unveiled at Abu Dhabi Art, where they were showcased on digital canvases alongside some of the best contemporary art in the world.
Maywand Jabarkhyl, chief executive of Fatima Bint Mohammed Bin Zayed, had described the move as a “crucial step forward” for their initiative. He said it would enable them to showcase their designs to a global audience and also open new streams of revenue for local artisans in Afghanistan.